The Giants' Manny Trillo has averaged a home run every 103 at bats in 11 major league seasons. But this year he has looked like the second coming of Rogers Hornsby, with three homers, seven RBIs and a .364 average. "Didn't surprise me," says manager Frank Robinson. "I expected him to hit three home runs—for the season." Trillo has an odd explanation for his new clout, considering he played in Montreal and Cleveland last year. "I knew I was coming to cold weather," he says, "and I wanted to be strong, so I decided to lift weights."... The Expos' rookie outfielder, Mike Stenhouse, is the only Harvard alum in the majors. Montreal publicist Richard Griffin says, "Stenhouse calls his meal money 'accounts receivable."... San Diego's Alan Wiggins volunteered to move from the outfield to second base this spring. Though the Padres are winning, Wiggins is floundering. He has committed four errors and is hitting .205. "I'm taking my defense into the dugout," he says.... When Philadelphia opened at home last week, outfielder Glenn Wilson felt anything but at home. "My first night, I was real depressed," says Wilson, who went to the Phils in the trade that sent Willie Hernandez to Detroit. "I'm here in my home city, and I just don't know anything—where to go, what to do. So I really got depressed." Then Wilson hit a game-winning, funk-lifting single in a 7-6 victory over Houston and received a thunderous ovation. How did he feel then? "At home," he said.... Chicago's Gary Matthews, who was traded from Philadelphia during spring training, on becoming the Cubs' leftfielder: "I don't get as much beer poured on me as I did in the past."
In his last seven seasons with Atlanta, knuckleballer Phil Niekro was 1-14 in games before April 25. But in his first year with the Yankees, Niekro has won his first two games. Why the quick start? To help catchers Butch Wynegar and Rick Cerone get used to the unpredictable flutters of his knuckler, Niekro threw more of them in spring training than he normally does. Niekro says the pitch is breaking now the way it usually starts to in May.
Boo who? Perhaps Braves fans have been spoiled by their club's early successes the past two seasons. Atlanta opened 13-0 in 1982 and 7-1 in '83. As of Sunday, the Braves were 3-8, and no player has been spared the fans' wrath. Two-time MVP Dale Murphy got the treatment for striking out with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth inning of a 6-1 loss to the Mets. Shortstop Rafael Ramirez was booed that night for making three errors. Ramirez doesn't mind, though. "You pay to see a good show," he says, "and when you no like it, you go, 'Boo, that's no good.' " First baseman Chris Chambliss is less understanding. "I don't agree with booing players," he says. "Raffy gets a lot of unnecessary criticism, and, with the talent he has, he doesn't deserve it. People make him out to be tight and scared, but he's really the opposite."
After throwing out the Red Sox' Dwight Evans when he tried to go from first to third on a line drive to left, Seattle's Gorman Thomas, who's playing despite a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, said, "I hope they got that throw on film. I keep waiting for a buzzard to come after my arm for dead meat."... In the last 3� months of the '83 season, California's Reggie Jackson didn't have a single game in which he drove in three runs. He has two three-RBI games already in '84. And while last year he had only 49 RBIs, so far this year he has 10.... Milwaukee's Paul Molitor hasn't been able to play third because of an elbow injury that may require surgery. But he can hit. So Ted Simmons, the regular DH, is going to try third on occasion, despite having spent virtually all 14 of his years in the majors behind the plate. You've got to like Simmons' attitude. "If they hit it at me," he says, "I should catch it. I'm a ballplayer."
Off to their best start ever, the Seattle Mariners won seven of their first 10 games and were in first place in the AL West. Though every starter had at least one win, the Mariners' chief strength has been their bullpen, despite the trade that sent stopper Bill Caudill to Oakland during the winter. The relief staff has averaged 2.7 appearances a game and has earned a save in every victory except one. Four relievers have already picked up at least one save each.
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